After 18 months of planning (I checked – my first communication was on June 29, 2011), we finally hosted the first ever Veritas Forum at Michigan State University. We at Campus Edge were proud to team up not only with the national Veritas Forum organization, but, more importantly, to partner with a whole group of local ministries: River Terrace Church, Riverview Church, St. John’s Catholic Church and Student Center, Christianity and Culture, University Christian Outreach, InterVarsity Christian Fellowship, Spartan Christian Fellowship, The Furnace at MSU, and All Saint’s Episcopal Church. We were thrilled to see around 200 people come to this exciting event.
We hosted Dr. Mary Poplin, professor of education at Claremont Graduate University, as she presented “Radical Marxist, Radical Womanist, Radical Love: What Mother Teresa Taught Me about Social Justice.” The talk was interesting – Dr. Poplin is an engaging speaker and a wonderful person with whom to converse. Perhaps the most important thing Mary did, however, was to spark dialogue. In the days leading up to the event, the Facebook page was the home of a heated debate about the criticisms leveled against Mother Teresa by Christopher Hitchens (and others). In the days since the event, I’ve had coffee with colleagues and friends to discuss further what we thought of Mary’s talk. From the time I spent with Mary, I know she would be thrilled by the conversations all across campus that have been sparked by her presentation and I know that they will continue for some time.
What may be most exciting of all is the number of people who have said that this talk challenged them to think or live differently. Students have shared that the Veritas Forum gave them a better understanding of how to share their faith. Others were challenged to be more forgiving or to take seriously God’s call to justice and mercy.
I am excited to continue the conversation in the weeks and months ahead and look forward to bringing more partners on board for next year’s Veritas Forum. Stay tuned!